Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Directly attaching mainframe to tape drives is entering its last phase

What did I tell you in my last post : all's quiet on the aunnouncement front, time to take some holiday . . . just until I turned my back on my screen. Some End of Marketings, some price changes and of course also the LinuxOne announcement. I hadn't seen that one coming. So, Ive got a lot of catching up to do now.

Let me start with the End of Marketing of the 3592 C07 controller which you need to attach your mainframe environment directly to the tape drives : 'Hardware withdrawal: IBM 3592 Tape Controller Model C07 and select features - Some replacements available (ZG15-0177)'.

First of all, let's make it clear from the beginning : this only indicates that effective November 13, 2015 you will no longer be able to buy any additional 3592 C07 Tape Controllers. This certainly does not mean they are no longer supported. For the moment no End of Support date has been announced.

So what's the alternative :
"Available options to replace Tape Controller Model C07 for connectivity in mainframe environments are TS7720 and ProtecTIER® Mainframe Edition (ME). TS7720 offers the flexibility of tape-less and tape-attach configurations. For very small mainframe environments, ProtecTIER ME is a premiere solution, delivering the best performance to price ratio with a reduction in storage costs".
Well, I think you can forget about the ProtecTIER ME solution, because as far as I know that one went End of Marketing somewhere in 2012 (ZG12-0339), unless I missed something . . .
Of course, as we know the lifespan of tape libraries, it's very likely that you can go on with your current configuration as long as you want, if you don't need newer generations of tape drives.
But the alternative is a TS7700 virtual tape library so you can either go tapeless or you can still write to tape for e.g. off site tape storage.

The TS7700 has the advantage that it also support the TS1150 from now on : 'IBM TS7700 R3.3 introduces support for the TS1150 tape drive and for external key management of disk-based encryption (ZG15-0174)'. The 3592 C07 does not support the TS1150 as there are no plans to enhance z/OS to support more than 4TB. This would require quite some modifications and besides, IBM claims that a TS7720 configuration for small clients will turn out to be less expensive than a 3592 C07 configuration with some native tape drives.

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